I don't really contribute the data I collect to Google Maps because it's much more one-way... Sure, I get to use their mapping site, but I can't get the data back for making print maps.
If anyone is interested in the general process I follow for it, that can be found here:
(The local MTB volunteer group keeps the trails in impeccable condition, us trail runners enjoy.)
MapBox does a great job of the maps but the very next thing I want is to search for an address. Back to square one.
OSM uses MapQuest but I'm unsure how licensing and quality affects real-world apps. Is the open data good enough? Is there a sub-$2500 commercial offering that doesn't suck?
E.g. MapQuest's FAQ:
How can I use geocodes?
Wikipedia has many:
What do you use?
OSM uses its own service, Nominatim, as tommorris has posted. It's OSM's own code using OSM data. The data and code are both free, but the osm.org servers have limited capacity; you can download the code and data and run it yourself if you like.
Mapquest Open runs an instance of this. MQ's servers are beefier so they have more liberal usage than osm.org's instance.
'Mainstream' Mapquest uses commercial data and therefore has pretty strict ToUs. Those are the ones you've quoted above: they don't apply to Mapquest Open.
Check out Gisgraphy:
You install it and basically get a local Nominatim.
I think a heatmap of OSM quality would help a lot. Does such a thing exist?
The only things I can suggest are:
- issues: number reported, number closed, diversity of reporters and closers - on the basis that if lots ofpeople are reporting issues, that means "many eyes make all bugs shallow" might be working. If lots of people are closing them, then someone is actually paying some attention.
- tag diversity. Human mappers tend to actually use a fairly wide variety of tags for points of interest.
- some measure of how much the data that has been imported from, say, government public domain GIS datasets, has been modified.
- last update
- presence of house/building names and numbers
There's a bunch of similar stuff up at http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Quality_assurance
It's a long way from perfect but will get better the more data people plonk into OSM. There's a big focus in a lot of local OSM communities on getting street numbering data.
Nominatim data is the same license as OSM, and if you really need to, you can run your own Nominatim instance.
I'd love to use OSM for all the usual reasons, just asking what it's like in real life. What do the zillions of startups out there use, what are the tradeoffs you've experienced? If it were that easy an answer there would only be OSM and the commercial providers would only have value-added data.
I've love to see an open-source alternative that rivals it, but haven't found one yet.
A description for the uninitiated: Portland has five quadrants in street names, NW/NE/N/SW/SE. SW has "negative block numbers" east of a certain line, which are represented by a significant leading zero in the building number.
To be fair, I don't think anyone handles this. Thankfully I'm not in SW pretty much ever.
 Lite version to try: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id431183278
A bug tracker for OSM data also exists .
- OSM does not always show some data. This does not really matter because the vector data is all available, and the openstreetmaps.org basemap is just one rendering of many. A good example of this is mapbox, which is one of the most beautiful basemaps out there.
- If you see something wrong, you can just hit the edit button and use the web editor (Id), which is super easy and contains more metadata than any other map app in this category. For example, I used this yesterday to find the type of pavement on a bike route near my house.
- Google spends 1 billion + per year on maps. This is likely primarily a) streets and b) data/company aquisitions which may not meet quite the same standards as OSM. The fact that OSM editors are obsessed with detail in their local area probably explains a lot.
- A map of the world should be something we all own. No company should have a monopoly on how we perceive the world around us, but companies should still be able to commercialize this stuff (like mapbox and others are doing).
- One point of contention that came up in the discussion was whether or not OSS can really compete with commercial solutions when there is so much money involved. Counter points to this are that mapping the whole world is something that requires a large networking effect and is not efficient for a company to do.
- GIS is one industry that has been seriously plagued by corporate wrangling. From the servers to the analysis apps to the geoprocessing engines to the underlying data; much of the innovation is hindered by companies locking down what they have (often with governmental tacit support, which exacerbates the problem quite a bit).
- There are many efforts to combat the monopoly-holder's/government's iron grip on this information and processing ability. Among these efforts that are hot on my radar include:
- QGIS: an open source gis desktop application that just saw amazing improvements with a 2.0.
- TileMill: an application that allows you to create custom basemaps. This was previously a process that required a expensive software and collection of phds.
- OSM: open map data that allows for almost infinite possibilities, since it lets you easily correct an error or download data and render it however you want.
- mapschool: A cool intro to GIS which has the potential to displace a lot of the overcomplicated training programs that have an inherent bias towards particular proprietary tools.
- Leaflet: a js library for client side map rendering. It is without a doubt easier to use than any of the alternatives, and tends to handle mobile better to boot.
- d3: A slick data visualization js lib sort of like jquery for data that can create mind blowing charts and maps.
- turf: a node.js library I have been working on (yeah, shameless plug) that aims to create a server side or client side full featured geospatial processing/stats engine with an easy to use api. The inspiration was largely taken from GRASS and my main goal was beating the hell out of arcpy on performance (it is orders of magnitude faster on the metrics I cared about when writing it).
I was surprised at how easy and intuitive it is.
Since installing Pushpin, the amount of stuff I've been adding has gone through the roof. http://pushpinosm.org/
Side note: This illustrates how crappy the App Store is for discovery. I've searched for all variations on "OSM editor" and never found this one.
Although I believe it has the same problem Ubuntu has - it is geek driven and utterly unsexy for others. It has been acknowledged by OSM-ers themselves and a substantial amount of work is being done currently in direction of democratisation of OSM (although I don't know how successful it is going to be)
Mapbox is putting a lot of effort into it currently and I hope the situation will change within the next year.
I personally think the best thing you can do in popularisation of OSM is creating projects based on it.
Really nice replacement for gmaps should you ever need it.
But since you can't get everyone to shift at once, you'll see a similar pattern where it eats away at small niches until it gains critical mass (assuming it does, which I think is very likely, but not inevitable).
This, of course, wouldn't correlate street names with paths taken by people; that would have to be done elsewhere.